Widespread obesity, poor nutrition, sleep-deprivation, and highly digital and sedentary lifestyles are just a few of the many challenges facing young people in the United States. Although U.S. public schools have the potential for meeting these challenges on a mass scale, they are slow to respond. The emphasis on discrete subject areas and standardized test performance offers little in the way of authentic learning and may in reality impede health. Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools: How Media Literacy Education can Renew Education in the United States reframes health education as a complex terrain that resides within a larger ecosystem of historical, social, political, and global economic forces. It calls for a media literate pedagogy that empowers students to be critical consumers, creative producers, and responsible citizens. I call for a holistic public education model through school-community initiatives and innovative partnerships that successfully magnify all curriculum subjects and their associated teaching practices. Teachers, teacher educators, school administrators, community organizers, public health professionals, and policy makers must work together in a transmediated and transdisciplinary approach to adolescent health. This will ultimately demonstrate how our collective focus on cultivating healthy teens will in turn yield healthy schools.
The development of this blog is ongoing and an extension of the ideas in Healthy Teens, Healthy Schools. My purpose is to create a collaboratory for ideas on how media literacy education can be the turnkey to health. I invite you to contribute.
Vanessa Domine, Ph.D.